Turku, like we’ve mentioned in our previous post, it is a city full of life all year round. Winter? Lots of things to do in Turku. Summer? Lots of things to do in Turku. Fall? Spring? Again, lots of things to do in Turku.
But, to avoid getting lost and spending too much money, we recommend that you buy the Turku card or the Turku Food Walk card. It is common knowledge that Finland can be very expensive and because of that, the two card options above are a smart travel decision.
Both are super easy accessible and will benefit you with free meals and free attractions all over the city!
Things to do in Turku with Turku Food Walk Card
The Turku Food Walk card is less than 50€ and is valid for 5 unique food experiences. One of our favorite things to do in Turku is [of course] eating. The city is filled with tasty and top-notch, gourmet restaurants and cafes and even though they cost a pretty penny, the Turku Food Walk card permits you to try 5 of the best restaurants which Turku has to offer.
Svarte Rudolf, Smör, Pinella, Grill It! and the charming Cafe Art are the restaurant options offered when purchasing this card..
Eat at Smör
The first time we had the pleasure to eat at Smör was during our first trip to Turku. We tried the Blinis there and our stomachs were absolutely satisfied.
Smör prepares its food with the greatest devotion and passion, using pure and fresh ingredients with unmistakable and genuine aroma and flavours.
I must inform you that the menu changes according to the seasons of the year; so during out last visit we had the fantastic spring/summer edition of the food. The restaurant is located in a vaulted cellar milieu on the banks of the River Aura.
The Amazing Pinella
Pinella is one of Finland’s original restaurants. Pinella was modernized to honour its traditions and amazing past. The place is full of history everywhere: a great ambiance.
Pinella serves also as one of the best meeting points by the Aura River: the river which runs through the city.
Eat on a boat at Svarte Rudolf
Svarte Rudolf is one of Turku’s orginals and legendary riverboat restaurants. Needless to say, the Svarte Rudolf is located in the Aura River since it is a boat.
We were there trying their warm chicken sandwich with Aura blue cheese sauce and we would go back there for more in a heart beat.
The restaurant may be on a boat in the middle of the river, but the weather is no challenge for it. It is open 365 days/year and offers vibrant nightlife in the summertime.
Try the pork sandwich at Grill it!
Grill it! Marina is the restaurant located under the Radisson Blu Hotel in Turku, facing the river. I have to say that its food, specifically the pulled pork sandwich, was one of our favorites from the menu.
This restaurant is definitely a place to visit for a nice lunch break after seeing some of the sites in Turku!
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to try the delicious cake that Cafe Art offers to the Food Walk Card holders. It was too much food and not enough time. 100% our fault.
But during our first visit to Turku, we tried the coffee there and it was great! The cakes looked super delicious and I’m sure they are!
And now, I want cake!
Things to do in Turku with the Turku Card
The Turku card is a life saver, really! You have no idea until you try it. Besides giving you free entrance into a bunch of museums, exhibitions, and events, the card also grants you the permission to use the public transportation (buses) inside of Turku.
Turku may be small for us Brazilians that come from cities with 23 million people, but for European and Finnish standards, it is quite big! And for you to be able to check off from your list all the things to do in Turku, you’ll need to take buses.
And if you’re not 100% sure about the Food Walk Card, the Turku card gives you discounts in several places and restaurants. Some places are the same as the other card, like Cafe Art.
Below I share with you some of the things we did, but you can also reference a bigger and more complete lists of the advantages of the Turku Card here.
Explore the Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum
This museum was one of the surprises on our trip. I have to confess that the name does not convince me of a great and interesting place to visit, since I couldn’t care less about a museum dedicated to handicraft. But I was sooooo wrong, so so so so wrong.
The Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum is essentially made up of the houses that survived the great fire of 1827. Today, this museum provides a unique setting and a window into the past to see the craftsmen of the pre-industrial era.
I’m not kidding, it is like a time-travel to the 1800s. You can see the common people, understand more how thing were and really emerge yourself into the historic life.
They have people that actually create products and the houses were occupied by real people until a few years back. Magical!
You can see how they printed paper, built chairs, made bread and so on. In my humble opinion, the museum should change its name to something more appealing like “Time Travel Museum – Experience the 1800s“.
Enjoy the Biological Museum
The Turku Biological Museum is a Diorama-Museum you must visit. 13 nature scenes full of animals and the fauna of Finland of different areas: from the archipelago all the way to Lapland.
The Biological Museum is outstanding and super interesting for all those that want to learn more about the natural and cultural history of Turku.
I told you about this museum in our post here, remember?
Get lost in the Forum Marinum
Also described in our other post about Turku, this museum has permanent exhibitions and some seasonal ones as well.
It has an alluring collection of old and new ships and boats: the Sigyn (barque), the Suomen Joutsen (frigate), four warships and many small steam-powered crafts such as a tug-boat and police boat. The outside ships only open in summer though; but, the Bore-ship exhibition and the Maritime Centre exhibitions are open every season.
If you have any questions about any of the cards listed above, please do not hesitate to ask us about them in a comment below! If we can, we will be happy to help you!
And thanks to Rebecca Sunshine for her editing contribution.